SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. appeals court here has ruled against Wal-Mart Stores in a lawsuit filed by former female employees who claim the retailer discriminated against women in awarding pay and promotions, but Wal-Mart said it is considering appealing the case to the Supreme Court.
Wal-Mart had asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here to overturn a lower court's ruling that granted the lawsuit class-action status representing all women employed by the Bentonville, Ark.-based company after Dec. 26, 1998.
In yesterday's filing, the court agreed with most of the lower court's finding, and limited the class to those women who worked at Wal-Mart after June 8, 2001, when the lawsuit was filed. The class represents a potential 1.5 million women, according to the court filing.
In a prepared statement, Jeff Gearhart, executive vice president and general counsel for Wal-Mart, said the company "disagrees with the decision of the sharply divided 6-5 court to uphold portions of the certification order," and is considering its options, "including seeking review from the Supreme Court."
“We are pleased that the court agreed with our position on several critical issues," he said. "The court significantly reduced the size of the originally certified class by as much as two-thirds.
"We do not believe the claims alleged by the six individuals who brought this suit are representative of the experiences of our female associates," he added.
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